Police advice on how to avoid online fraud

Online fraud covers a variety of incidents - including online banking, auction websites, identity theft�and online shopping to name just a few.
Online fraud covers a variety of incidents - including online banking, auction websites, identity theft�and online shopping to name just a few.

Officers from the Pocklington and Wolds Weighton Community Policing Teams are offering some common sense advice regarding online fraud.

Online fraud covers a variety of incidents – including online banking, auction websites, identity theft and online shopping to name just a few.

A police spokesman said: “It is often very easy for some people to forget that they are not dealing face to face with someone and believe what they see to be true, without reservation, or the sort of caution you might apply in dealing with someone face to face.

“Phishing, vishing and smishing relates to any website, online service, phone call or text message which poses as a company or brand you recognise such as your bank.

“Any contact like this is designed to convince you to hand over valuable personal details or your money, or download something that infects your computer.

“The three terms are all plays on the word ‘fishing’, in that the fraudsters fish for potential victims by sending emails (phishing), social media messages or text messages (smishing) or making phone calls with urgent messages (vishing) in the hope of persuading someone to visit the bogus website or to call them back.”

Below are some example hints/tips to help keep your online shopping/banking a safe and secure experience:

Online banking

○ If you use online banking it’s important you keep passwords and personal details private to stop criminals accessing your account.

○ Banks will never ask you to reveal your full password on the phone or by email.

○ When using online banking be aware of who can see your screen and make sure you log out properly.

Auction Websites

○ Online auctions are popular with shoppers -when using auction sites always use strong passwords and never give your passwords to anyone.

○ When paying on auction sites never transfer the money direct to a bank account. Secure sites such as PayPal are usually safer – however payments can be reversed – check the seller’s feedback before making a purchase.

○ Always make sure you have received payment for sales on auction sites before you dispatch the goods – and when posting, use a fully tracked and signed for postal service.

○ Remember if something appears too good to be true, then it usually is.

Online Shopping

○ Shopping online can often save time and effort but there are risks too. When shopping online make sure the retailer is reputable, research them online and make sure they have an address and phone number.

○ Look out for secure “https” links in the address of the website to ensure the site is secure in its payment/form handling methods. 

○ Paying online by credit card can offer greater protection than other payment methods.

○ Try to use different passwords for different websites - sharing passwords can be very risky.